Sunday, December 20, 2020

Gifts from the Heart

Please view disclaimer at the end of this article
 

Gifts from the Heart

Written by: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez

Originally published at Reflections Beneath the Poetz Tree
 
 
 
Copyright 2020 WorldofWriterMom.org
 
 
Holiday time and gift giving are chasing me again this year.  There are people I want to acknowledge for all the amazing ways they show kindness, emotional support, and love throughout the year.  This time of year leaves me breathless as I run toward that finish line that screams "Christmas."  How to balance these feeling of generosity with the little Grinch of a Gremlin called "the budget"  is a challenge that threatens to release the bah humbug in many of us.  Here are some ideas that I recently unpacked from my holiday box of memories.  Perhaps one of them will inspire you to create a gift that can be added to someone's treasury of holiday memories.

  1. I was the oldest of seven children in our family.  Each year my Dad would carefully print the Months, Days, and Numbers on a large blank calendar that he had picked up from an office supply store.  (I assume that's where he found the item.) He then added every important event we needed to remember:  Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Special Occasions.  This was his hand written gift to my mother.  She posted that large calendar by the phone (back in the day when phones were actually attached to the wall) and used that organizational tool to track all of our activities throughout the year.

    We posted my dad's concerts (he played French Horn for the Army Band, Virginia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Virginia Opera, and various other venues).  We also listed school activities and special projects that were due.  At the end of the year, it was fun to look back on that calendar and see how much our family had done.  I loved that calendar because it was so well written.  My dad had excellent teacher style printing, but I knew it must have taken some time for him to make it look that nice.

    Even if you don't want to hand write a calendar, there are many beautiful pre-printed ones that can serve the same purpose.  Add special touches of your own:  Favorite quotes, inspirational words of wisdom, or funny sayings sprinkled throughout each month.  The gift of time spent adding those unique items makes the present a Gift from the Heart.


  2. One year I purchased card stock from the craft store and cut each sheet into pieces the size of business cards.  My three children and I added memories of special things to give to their grandparents.  We included descriptions of special meals and favorite treats, movies we viewed together, holiday events, funny quotes, unique personality traits we love and appreciate, and even aromas that have left a lasting impressions.  I added memories from my own childhood including things I enjoyed about growing up in a large family.  My children even added art work on those tiny cards.  We found a decorative box (there are many selections at the dollar store) and placed those cards into the box.  A ribbon was added to complete the look and keep the box closed until its reveal.  The hand written cards and art work took some time to complete, but turned into a fun activity with my children.  It was a Gift from the Heart.


  3. One year when I lived in Germany I found myself alone for Christmas.  I decided to volunteer to make and deliver cookies through our church group.  Baking helped me remember the amazing aromas associated with my Hungarian mother's cooking.  I packaged the cookies in those cute little holiday tins, just like my mom did when I was a child.  I received my mission to deliver cookies to the soldiers on guard duty for Christmas Eve.  In my little yellow 1978 German Specs Volkswagon Passat (hey...I paid for it myself in cash for $550.00) I delivered those cookies.  I could have been delivering gold given the response from those soldiers.  Their smiles and heart warming thanks were all I needed to feel the spirit of Christmas.  I no longer felt like I was alone, in a foreign country, far away from my family.  I was also given a Gift from the Heart.  


There are many ways to make a difference to others this year.  I would love to hear from my readers about how you created a memorable moment and gave a Gift from the Heart.  It doesn't have to cost a lot.  It just needs a little time and a touch of creativity.



Have a wonderful week and thanks for taking time to read 
this blog.  You are appreciated!

 

                        Copyright 2020 WorldofWriterMom.org                       

 

Wishing all of you a week of adventures,
solutions to your challenges,
answers to your prayers,
& resources to help you survive
all of your collaborative projects!

Kindest Wishes,
~ Mary


 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MARYSTEA


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 Disclaimer
World of Writer Mom.org is part of an affiliate program. This means that if you make a purchase through the links I promote on this site or on its related social media platforms, I may earn a small commission from that action to support World of Writer Mom.org
Important: You will NOT be charged more when buying products through my link.
I enjoy taking time to research products that look interesting and may provide helpful resources to you and your family. The opinions, knowledge, and experiences I write about are my own. Real Life Awareness: Recommendations do not imply liability, responsibility for disappointments or failed expectations, or regret over budgeting woes. I trust each reader to use their own good judgment when it comes to knowing what will work best for you and your family. (Because...well...I am not the ultimate decision maker, judge, or source of approval for anyone except myself...and my children...until they are legally allowed to represent themselves.)
Thank You for taking time to read, participate, and share your adventures with me. Hopefully, we'll find something to occasionally purchase, enjoy, and use in an effort to create a special moment.
Privacy: This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do we store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies. You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings. We are not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without our permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on October 15, 2020. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly here at: worldofwritermom@outlook.com 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Memories of Heidelberg on My Birthday

Please view disclaimer at the end of this article

 

Memories of Heidelberg 

 Written by: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez

Originally published at Reflections Beneath the Poetz Tree


Professional photography courtesy of  Uli Hillenbrand Photography



This is a picture of Heidelberg with the well known, iconic castle in the background. It's a beautiful, sunny day in this version of the place where I discovered how much I enjoy adventure and travel.  I arrived at the Frankfurt airport in Germany on my 18th birthday (many, many) years ago. It was December 1st, the year not important. We were met at the airport by a member of the U.S. Army Band who was tasked with transporting our large family to guest lodging at  Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg. Not knowing how much space a family of eight with baggage would require, the ginormous band bus had been sent with it's driver. 

It was cold and it had recently snowed.  We were all tired and hungry.  I had been gifted with what every teenage girl dreads on this type of long trip, and I just wanted to curl up in a ball wrapped in a warm blanket.  I needed some chocolate, a cola, and a bottle of Midol. Most of all, I wanted to sleep and forget about the plans I had left stateside. Happy freakin' birthday to me. Yet even with all those strange elements infringing on my impending life as a young adult, I believed that there was a plan for me there. 

It's often hard to believe so much time has passed.  When I allow myself to remember everything that has happened since that date, I feel incredibly proud of who I am and what I have accomplished. That's not easy for me to say.  But I want to give myself permission to make that comment.  I feel like I have worked hard to get to this point as a woman, as a writer, as a wife,  as a mom, and as a human being who has survived some remarkable shit!

I have never fully written about all of my European adventures.  So much happened during my time there that shaped who I am.  Some of those moments will be featured in a novel I am writing. For today, I've decided to share some of the things that inspired me as a young adult living in a foreign country.  Here's my "List of Ten" Hope you enjoy it!
 


Adorable Alpaca Christmas Ornament 
Click on picture to purchase


My List of Ten Memories
Inspirations from Heidelberg,Germany 


BELLA SURI ALPACA CAPE
Click on picture to purchase
 

1.) I learned a new language and explored a new culture.


2.) My college experience was greatly different from what I had expected.  I took classes in the evenings and on weekends and was typically the youngest student.  I learned to appreciate the maturity of adult students who were serious about returning to school and held full time jobs. (Perfect tote for your commute to classes can be found here.)


3.) Learning different modes of transportation was liberating and increased both my confidence and my sense of independence. This was especially important since I did not have a car when I started working and attending classes at The University of Maryland - European Campus.  I quickly learned to read the schedules and coordinate arrivals/departures to make sure I arrived on time for work and for school. (Military Bus,German bus, train, strassenbahn, bike, and even walked when necessary.) Learning to dress for the cold weather was critical, especially given the need to wait for arrivals.


4.) I was fortunate to encounter professional women in the field of Early Childhood Development who encouraged my interests and were willing to be mentors. I would not have been as successful without their guidance and support of my studies.


5.) I met my first "serious" boyfriend while attending college.  Prior to college, I had very little dating experience.  I was always content and blessed to have great male friends throughout high school who considered me more of a little sister than anything else. Thank God, because I wouldn't have known how to handle anything more.


6.) Taking the Literature Course on James Michener was incredibly  challenging and I vowed never to pick up another one of those novels unless I needed it as a weight or door stop. But it was during that course that I met the professor who would coach me through one of the most difficult persuasive papers I've ever had to write. (That story is for another post.)


7.) I was fortunate to be able to live with my family on base for the first three years I lived in Germany.  My father was stationed in Schwetzingen with the Army Band and frequently traveled for their performances.  I worked full time with Army Child Development Services and begged to work as many hours as possible, even if it meant hopping a bus to go across town and put in hours at another child care center.  Those hours allowed me to pay for my own classes, so I graduated without any tuition debt. That was a gift!  I'm not sure I could have done that stateside.


8.) Mentors in Child Development supported my efforts to convert to a civilian paid position when it was time for my father to return stateside.  I moved into a tiny basement apt. in Oftersheim close to work. I had my first place at the age of twenty. My family relocated stateside shortly before my twenty-first birthday. That was a huge deal!  Looking back, I realize how hard that must have been for my parents.  My seventeen year old sister stayed with me to finish her quarter for high school and celebrated my birthday with me. We boarded a plane right before Christmas and spent the holidays with family.  She stayed and I returned.  It was hard to be without them.  When my sister was still in Germany, it didn't hit me so hard.  But it was better for her to get back to my parents,  because I think I was a pretty crappy substitute.  I know she needed to be fed more than microwave dinners and M&M's.  I'm just glad we at least had that time to survive together.


9.) I learned how to manage my own money and pay my own bills.  Overseas calls were expensive. I learned that the hard way. My first car was an old, German specs, yellow Volkswagon Passat. It drove like a tank. It was solid and unyielding.  Not a pretty car at all!  But it was mine. Paid $550 cash for it plus insurance. When that gave out on me, I bought a new Honda Civic Dx. I had to arrange to pick it up at Bremerhaven. The car dealer who sold it drove me and two other people (also picking up cars) in his convertible to meet a bus. That bus took us the rest of the way to Bremerhaven. That entire day was an adventure.


10.) Traveling was one of the best bonuses of my time overseas. I have a love for adventure, even though my sense of direction sucks. Somehow, I managed to navigate travel systems in no less than five languages. I'm not saying I'm fluent in all those languages, but I am comfortable enough with the basics. For someone who traveled before cell phones and GPS was readily available, I think I was pretty bad ass for attempting what I did. I loved every minute too! 


Corazon Reversible Alpaca Ruana 
Click on picture to purchase


My birthday sparked a rush of memories and emotions for me as I recalled all the awesome, crazy, and sometimes scary things I made myself experience. The Heidelberg memories are some of the best because they helped define what I wanted out of life. Whenever I start to feel stressed by something I am currently dealing with, I can look back and say, "But look what you did when..."  There's a lot of material to serve as a resource and as an inspiration.


BORIS 100% VICUNA TOP COAT
Click on picture to purchase


Thanks for taking a few minutes to share this list with me.  I hope it will encourage you to start your own "List of Ten" as a way to get through whatever difficulties you might face.



Copyright 2020 World of Writer Mom

 
Wishing all of you a week of adventures,
solutions to your challenges,
answers to your prayers,
& resources to help you survive
all of your collaborative projects!

Kindest Wishes,
~ Mary

 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MARYSTEA


Learn how you can become a marketing affiliate
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Find a sponsor for your website and
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Here's the perfect opportunity to select a gift for someone you love.
I'm happy to help you if you require assistance. 
Message me in the comments section.

 
 
 
 
 Kindest Regards to 
 Please check out Uli's 2021 Calendar

Professional photography courtesy of  Uli Hillenbrand Photography




Disclaimer
World of Writer Mom.org is part of an affiliate program. This means that if you make a purchase through the links I promote on this site or on its related social media platforms, I may earn a small commission from that action to support World of Writer Mom.org
Important: You will NOT be charged more when buying products through my link.
I enjoy taking time to research products that look interesting and may provide helpful resources to you and your family. The opinions, knowledge, and experiences I write about are my own. Real Life Awareness: Recommendations do not imply liability, responsibility for disappointments or failed expectations, or regret over budgeting woes. I trust each reader to use their own good judgment when it comes to knowing what will work best for you and your family. (Because...well...I am not the ultimate decision maker, judge, or source of approval for anyone except myself...and my children...until they are legally allowed to represent themselves.)
Thank You for taking time to read, participate, and share your adventures with me. Hopefully, we'll find something to occasionally purchase, enjoy, and use in an effort to create a special moment.
Privacy: This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do we store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies. You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings. We are not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without our permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on October 15, 2020. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly here at: worldofwritermom@outlook.com

 


 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

How do you INSPIRE others?

Inspiring others to make a difference

by: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez

 

 

It is important to recognize that what we say and how we say it can create a mood or vibe. The nuances of language are complex. Words contain power in their presentation. And it's not just the words that create energy. Your approach and how you care for others is infused into your messages. Daily interactions provide insights into how you feel, your intent, and what you find important in life.  The way you choose to communicate is the result of many variables including:


LIFE EXPERIENCES

PERSONAL STRUGGLES & SURVIVALS       

KNOWLEDGE ON VARIOUS TOPICS

SELF-AWARENESS OF STRENGTHS/CHALLENGES/TRIGGERS

UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT THROUGHOUT LIFE CYCLE

ABILITY TO ASSIMILATE INFORMATION AND APPLY IT TO SITUATIONS

COPING SKILLS/ABILITY TO EVALUATE INTERACTIONS WITH OTHERS

              

One way to enhance your ability to communicate and inspire others is to watch and learn from those who have practiced this skill and do it well. You have a wealth of resources available via social media and other outlets. Finding the ones that resonate with you may take a little time, but it is worth the search. Here are some of the places I have found inspiration.  

 

Mikki Williams

 

I had the pleasure of attending a workshop presented by Mikki Williams several years ago during an AFAA certification conference in Frankfurt, Germany. Not only is she an expert story teller, she is also an incredible inspirational speaker. Mikki has a talent for grabbing her audience's attention and making them think about the possibilities available in life and in business. At the conference I attended, she also shared her creative choreography talents as a dancer. Our group of exercise/fitness instructors learned how to build fun cardio routines for our classes. But even more than that, we learned how important it is to recognize each person's unique story and incorporate that into our work as fitness instructors. It was a moment in my personal history that made a lasting impression. And isn't that what communication is about? We all hope that something we say or do will help others in their journey.  Mikki shared that we cannot "motivate" others to do what we think they need to be doing. But we can "inspire" them to make choices and changes. Remembering this has helped me countless times and in many areas of my life. Years after I saw Mikki, she continues to offer insights via her web page. I recently decided to get recertified in group fitness after remembering how much I enjoyed teaching. I signed up for classes and just received my study materials. (After connecting with Mikki on LinkedIn, those memories of her workshop came flooding back.) So check out Mikki's site and find out all the amazing things she has to offer. You will find inspiration.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The first person I met on my first day of high school was James Divine. We arrived at the door leading to the band room at the same time. (If I am remembering correctly.) I was very introverted and nervous about my first day of high school. His kind smile and greeting immediately put me at ease, and that day was the beginning of a lasting friendship. Throughout our four years in band, he was the big brother I needed, my ride home from band practices and games, and the person I trusted no matter what. I watched him grow in confidence and was happy for him when he fell in love with the woman he would one day marry. All that time, I never once suspected he held on to a dark secret that haunted him. I didn't find out until many years later when we ended up reconnecting. James is an accomplished musician, author, and inspirational speaker who has helped many individuals realize there is life beyond trauma. He is a teacher and advocate for those who need to find their voice. His most amazing accomplishments are being a husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many. I know that one day I'll get my books published too, because James has written about how it can be done even when you are busy and going in a million directions. And because I know James confronted his trauma, I have been able to reassure others that they too can overcome theirs.  Check out what he has done. You will find inspiration.



World of Writer Mom's Communication Tips
 
 
Three things that create roadblocks to communication:
 
1. Assumptions  2. Expectations 3. Generalizations

Read more about these roadblocks at
 
 




Wishing all of you a week of adventures
solutions to your challenges,
answers to your prayers,
& resources to help you accomplish
all of your collaborative projects!

Kindest Wishes,
~ Mary


 
Copyright 2020 World of Writer Mom
 
 
 
 Special product of the month promotion:
 


 
 
 

Disclaimer
World of Writer Mom.org is part of an affiliate program. This means that if you make a purchase through the links I promote on this site or on its related social media platforms, I may earn a small commission from that action to support World of Writer Mom.org
Important: You will NOT be charged more when buying products through my link.
I enjoy taking time to research products that look interesting and may provide helpful resources to you and your family. The opinions, knowledge, and experiences I write about are my own. Real Life Awareness: Recommendations do not imply liability, responsibility for disappointments or failed expectations, or regret over budgeting woes. I trust each reader to use their own good judgment when it comes to knowing what will work best for you and your family. (Because...well...I am not the ultimate decision maker, judge, or source of approval for anyone except myself...and my children...until they are legally allowed to represent themselves.)
Thank You for taking time to read, participate, and share your adventures with me. Hopefully, we'll find something to occasionally purchase, enjoy, and use in an effort to create a special moment.
Privacy: This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do we store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies. You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings. We are not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without our permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on October 15, 2020. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly here at: worldofwritermom@outlook.com